Cancer Assignment

  1. hello all,
    while this is my first post, i am not new to allnurses for i have been gathering information at this website since i began my nursing journey 3.5 years ago. so thanks to all who have unknowingly guided and helped me along my quest. i am now half way through an adn program and have an assignment to survey someone who has/had cancer. if there is anyone that can respond to these questions i would be very grateful.


    1. what was the person's initial response to the diagnosis?
    2. ask about the treatment for your interviewee's particular cancer. what have been the challenges of the treatment?
    3. on an emotional level, how has your interviewee handled the days since the diagnosis?
    4. what has been the biggest surprise?
    5. what has been the lowest point?
    6. what would this person share with someone who had just been diagnosed with the same type cancer you have?

    and what specific cancer did you have?


    thanks!!! :spin:
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   MIA-RN1
    Quote from rnstudent07
    hello all,
    while this is my first post, i am not new to allnurses for i have been gathering information at this website since i began my nursing journey 3.5 years ago. so thanks to all who have unknowingly guided and helped me along my quest. i am now half way through an adn program and have an assignment to survey someone who has/had cancer. if there is anyone that can respond to these questions i would be very grateful.


    1. what was the person's initial response to the diagnosis?
    2. ask about the treatment for your interviewee's particular cancer. what have been the challenges of the treatment?
    3. on an emotional level, how has your interviewee handled the days since the diagnosis?
    4. what has been the biggest surprise?
    5. what has been the lowest point?
    6. what would this person share with someone who had just been diagnosed with the same type cancer you have?

    and what specific cancer did you have?


    thanks!!! :spin:
    my husband had cancer--does that count? i could answer for the both of us if you want.
  4. by   RNstudent07
    Quote from CoopergrrlRN
    my husband had cancer--does that count? I could answer for the both of us if you want.
    Yes, That would be great. Any help that I can get I would really appreciate. Thanks!
  5. by   nurseangel47
    Unfortunately I can answer these questions with personal firsthand experience: I am the one who had cancer. My initial response to the diagnosis?-I felt literally that someone had taken an axe and bullseyed it right between my eyes! Shock is a mild word for what I felt! Didn't see it coming at all! #2) treatment only consisted of transuretheral resection of bladder with stent placement while initial healing took place. The challenge of that was simply experiencing doubts/fears of did they get it all in surgery or will it be lurking in my body for years to come and re-emerge somewhere else in my body as in, cells disturbed by the manipulations in surgery and then traveling elsewhere to grow! Plus the difficulty of hearing over and over from insensitive "FAMILY" members (immediate family at that!) that I should eat/drink/etc."better" and engage a more "healthy" lifestyle, (smoker here and overweight), and the nagging of other family members to go about regular business/activity levels/requirements to meet others needs too soon after surgery while I should've been taking it easy better and longer ( a hard thing to do for most nurses when recovering) #3)I've spent many a day beating myself up over the fact that maybe smoking DID cause the tumor to erupt in the first place...quit for a while and more than once...still at it and guilt ridden when I think of what I'm doing to my body...again!
    #4) biggest surprise?-the initial findings of cancer during an office procedure called cystoscopy to find cause of blood in urine and the doctor's adamant declaration that it was caused by smoking! (before the tumor was excised and biopsied)!#5)my lowest point-when my older sister declared (while I was convalesing from surgery) that " ' I haven't had to have any surgeries in my lifetime! You and Amy have had to have lots!' " gloating 'cuz she hasn't had to have any surgery!
    If that's not asking for bad "kharma"...I don't know what is! (yeah, I have a very toxic family as if you hadn't already figured that one out)
    #6)what would I share with someone who had the same type of cancer I did?-don't panic, take care of YOU, no one else can or will, drink lots of filtered water from now on and forever more, if you smoke, cut back or quit and do not smoke at all unless you are simultaneously drinking water at the time you are smoking that cigarette and preferably, do not smoke...do whatever it takes for you to stop, try to cut back or cut out all hair dyes, figure out what in your environment that you do have control over to prevent a reoccurence of the cancer. Listen to your heart and don't listen to anyone else's "advice" when they cut you to the quick with " ' I told you so' " #7) I had bladder cancer, nonstageable, early phase, no attachment past superficial lining of bladder, growth up and into one of my ureters, VERY lucky...no followup of radiation or chemo or anything required....good luck on your assignment and I hope that this info is what you were looking for.
  6. by   Testa Rosa, RN
    1. Amblivalance, maybe a little bit of denial. Back before I knew better, part of me was expecting this as punishment for having such a stressful life.

    2. Surgery, followed by more surgery, followed by chemo therapy (TAC every three weeks for 6 - 8 treatments...Taxoterre, Adromacyn and Cytoxin...not sure of exact spelling) followed by radiation. My hair is finally starting to grow back! YES

    3. Emotionally, had to continue on like normal. Mom of three and part time worker/student. Had to be strong, and given that I had helped my fierce and brave mom live strong and then die well, I had an exellent example.

    4. Many suprises. Weight gain. Thought it was supposed to go the other way around. Losing my eyelashes and eyebrows...was prepared for the hair, but it was as if my face had been wiped clean of all personality. The cost $$$$, even with good insurance I am still paying off medical bills...and babysitters and housekeepers and lost work time. My hair growing back a different color and texture too. How tired I have been since, how long it's taking me to bounce back since treatment. How loved I actually am. How brave and strong I really am. How precious my children are. How precious my life is, even if I have had it harder than most.

    5. Lowest point: Can think of five that all are equally bad: Losing my hearing in one ear becuase my entry level Nurse practitioner forgot to order my white/red blood cell booster shots, leaving me vulnerable to infection, which caused me to spike a fever soon after chemo while in the guest bedroom of my home which caused me to pass out... and everyone in the house had left... had nobody checking on me or finding me for hours and I couldn't wake up or move...but badly needed water, antibiotics. Had white blood cell counts in the small digits when I was finally tested.

    Then was the time my port developed a blood clot and infection and the receptionist kept me waiting for two hours while my arm swelled up to the size of my thigh...I kept asking if it would be best for me to proceed onto the emergency room. Was about to do that when a nurse practitioner called me back into the offices. Nearly passed out on the nurses aide on the way there.

    Then I was put on blood thinners due to the blood clot near my port, which caused me to bleed out during my period. Hemoraged to the point I passed out while at my local wellness center. All my bleeding while I was passed out scared all those older post menopausal ladies with breast cancer half to death. An expensive ambulance was called.

    The time a perfect stranger brought my toddler home ( he had been found several houses down the block) and she found me passed out on the couch with a messy house. I started to gag once I became vertical and could only talk to her through the bathroom. It was before I had lost all my hair yet, so I just looked like a drunk or a drug addict.

    The time my toddler was stuck up high on the play structure and I couldn't hear him yelling for me, even though I had fallen asleep on the lawn right nearby.

    6. I would share to power of prayer, and of giving yourself up to the universe and letting everything go for awhile.

    7. Breast cancer
  7. by   Daytonite
    1. what was the person's initial response to the diagnosis?
    i cried--for days.
    2. ask about the treatment for your interviewee's particular cancer. what have been the challenges of the treatment?
    first, i had surgery to remove the tumor. unfortunately, they found malignant cells on the margins of the tissue removed, so radiation therapy was recommended. i underwent a full course of 7 weeks of daily radiation therapy treatments. i had such a bad case of mucositis in my mouth that eating or speaking was really difficult. i lost 43 pounds during radiation, lost chunks of hair that i had to hide by wearing a wig for many months and my ear on the affected side turned black and hurt so bad i could hardly stand it.
    3. on an emotional level, how has your interviewee handled the days since the diagnosis?
    ok. this was my second bout with cancer. i dealt with the issue of death 20 years ago with thyroid cancer. i'm much older now. i'm not afraid to die, only afraid of the manner of death. i don't want to be in horrific pain. i don't even think about the possibility of developing another cancer since this was my second one. if a third one is discovered, i won't be that surprised. don't get me wrong. i won't be happy about it either.
    4. what has been the biggest surprise?
    the after effects of the surgery and radiation therapy. i lost my hearing in one ear and i have a mild trismus (look it up) in the left jaw that makes chewing very difficult.
    5. what has been the lowest point?
    8 years after the radiation therapy i developed osteoradionecrosis in my jaw over the radiation field secondary to dental work that had to be done. i had to undergo 75 hyperbaric oxygen treatments over a 5 month period all the while holding my breath that the bone would heal and not break down any further. there were times when i would be in the hyperbaric chamber just crying my eyes out because i was so depressed at the idea of possible facial deformity from this.
    6. what would this person share with someone who had just been diagnosed with the same type cancer you have?
    get it treated immediately. while the side effects of the treatments have been a little rough to deal with at times, it's a lot better than being dead.
    and what specific cancer did you have?
    mucoepidermoid cancer of the parotid gland
  8. by   BrnEyedGirl
    My husband was Dx w/Renal Cell Carcinoma (R kidney) in September of this year after we went to ER w/what I was sure was a kidney stone.

    To try to answer your questions:
    1. My initial response,..wow I became stupid,.I was no longer a nurse, someone I loved had cancer (couldn't even say the word for a few days), w/in 15 minutes after the Dr left the room I made some lame excuse about going to get us some food,..went to my car and cried, then realized ,.my gosh I just left him there alone w/ this information,.felt terrible and went back upstairs and put on my "nursing face" no tears

    2. His treatment was the removal of his R kidney. The surgery was done by "hand assisted laproscopy" which was something I didn't even know they could do,..so that made the nurse in me happy,..biggest challenge w/that was probably the fact that we had to leave the hospital,..come back a week later for the surgery because he takes a low dose Asa daily. The wait was horrible!

    3. Emotionally,..I missed 5 days of work,..I couldn't sleep or eat,..I'm a talker (duhhh), and desperately needed information, so I called every person I could think of to get the information I needed,...Mom assured me all would be okay and let me cry,..several Dr's told me that this type of cancer if caught early, had close to a %90 cure rate.,...many friends reminded me "if theres anything I can do..",..many people would talk to me about anything other than his cancer,..many just let me vent,..for awhile I was in "panic mode" very scary.

    4. biggest suprise,..they didn't recommend chemo or radiation,..Dr's and nurses provided very little education and what I did get I had to beg for,..I became very "tender hearted" et had my feelings hurt easily,..( My assistant nurse manager called me to ask why I was missing work,..I explained what had happened she said "well I understand you wanting to be there the day he has surgery,.but if that isn't until next week, why can't you be here tonight?",..it hurt my feelings and has changed my impresson of her as a person and as a nurse to this day.

    5. lowest point was probably the day I brought him home from the hospital to wait for surgery,..many phone calls from friends and family, many visitors,.first and only time we cried together.

    6. I would encourage others to ask questions,.keep asking questions,.take one day at a time and try not to focus on all the bad things that can happen,..try to continue w/normal everyday life as much as possible and don't fall into what I call "sick mode" ie "we can't come to the birthday party because Dad is sick" or "don't turn the TV up so loud, Dad is sick",.. I did better when I stopped trying to make everything okay,.it wasn't/isn't okay he has cancer,.but we're going to be able to function and deal w/it.

    Sorry so long,...hope this helps.
    BTW this has had a huge impact on me as a nurse,..I try to always remember that what is routine to me is new and often scary for my pts.
  9. by   MIA-RN1
    1. What was the person's initial response to the diagnosis? I had a feeling it was cancer. He'd had a high fever and really bad side pain for a few weeks/. But when we saw that oncologist and he actually said it out loud...there was a lot of shock. I felt the blood drain from my head and I remember us just holding hands, really tightly. We drove home in shock and started calling people and thats when I started crying. Later, we cried together.
    2. Ask about the treatment for your interviewee's particular cancer. What have been the challenges of the treatment? Initially, I had to give him interferon shots three times a week. It was awful. When they say 'flu-like symptoms" they are lying. Eleven hours almost to the minute, he would get the shakes, vomiting, fever...terrible. After a few weeks and a blood transfusion, he developed another high fever and just looked really bad. Took him to ED, doc determined he 'failed' interferon and he could start the then-new medication Gleevec. No side effects to speak of from that, thank goodness.
    3. On an emotional level, how has your interviewee handled the days since the diagnosis?Me, I have been up and down but he responded so quickly and so well to the gleevec that there have been times in the past five years that I've almost forgotten about it. At first I was scared to get angry at him, and then I was angry at him for getting sick, and then it all evened out. He has been doing quite well. He attends a monthly support group and it helps a LOT except that people from that group have been dying and it scares him.
    4. What has been the biggest surprise?hmm...I found it surprising that people would dare to say 'Oh CML...thats the cadillac of cancers.' The kids took it really well, and that was good. And this summer--when we found out his remission was over and it was back. And then two days ago, when we found out that with his upped-dose of Gleevec he is in remission again.
    5. What has been the lowest point?The first few weeks. We waited two weeks to tell the kids because the doc said that it wouldn't be totally definitive until the results from the bone marrow biopsy. They were 13 and 7 at the time. And then when he got up one night and fell back and fainted on me, and I thought wow, he is really sick (very stoic man). And then of course in June when it came back.
    6. What would this person share with someone who had just been diagnosed with the same type cancer you have?Breathe. It is not easy but it is not a death sentence. Treatment is growing in leaps and bounds are there are already second-generation drugs out there for if/when Gleevec fails completely. Talk to people, join Gilda's Club.

    And what specific cancer did you have? My husband has Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia
  10. by   RNstudent07
    thank you so much to all who replied. you have been a tremendous help with my assignment.

    jb

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